Between my publishing the review for Catching Fire and writing this one, I myself have published a new book. It took me quite a while to write when compared to my first novel. Probably because it’s twice as long and I would argue a better book all around. That having been said, the last entry into the Hunger Games Trilogy was good enough to make me dislike my own writing in comparison. This is one of the strongest finales I have ever seen committed to paper. I think that a good majority of what makes it so is that it is a complete diversion from the style of the first two books. The mood is darker and the stakes higher, as they should be in any sequel, but the manner of story that the author uses to complete the narrative is fresh when viewed through the lens of the series thus far.
It becomes a straight up war book. It still retains the strong themes of the power of propaganda and the tendency of those in charge to forget the pawns in their machinations. The point of the series is not lost in the turnaround, it’s just revealed under a different light. It’s really quite well done. While I personally think that the second book was actually the better novel, the finale does an amazing job in its own right. It’s actually hard to compare the two because of the shift in direction. It is a testament to Collins’ ability as a writer that even by the third book, when we’re used to characters being picked off one-by-one in the games, the deaths of major characters still evoke considerable emotion within the reader. Make no mistake, she goes for the gut punch more than once and it’s usually very effective.
I would say that I place some fault with the ending, as calling it abrupt would be an understatement. But it’s satisfying enough in that it makes logical sense, really, the way it played out. The events leading up to the climax force the resolution in a way. I think the ending may very well have been different if there were more entries to the series, which honestly I would have approved of, as having the entirety of the revolution contained to a single entry means that we don’t have much time to expand on the newly introduced themes and characters. The president of district 13 is shortchanged somewhat here, as we’re forced to form opinions about her very early with not a whole lot of time to let perceptions grow organically. But that’s only a minor quibble because I don’t think she was ever intended to be anything other than a minor contrast to President Snow. I think it’s mostly a statement on my expectations and not a reflection on the shortcomings of the book.
Now that I’ve read all three books I’m more than ready for the film adaptations. And now I can be one of those assholes who gripe about stuff that gets changed. Yeah. That sounds like fun.
Yesterday was a big day for me because my second novel went to press. It’s a fantasy novel that evolved from my love of sword and sorcery books like Conan and I thought I’d stop by and put up an advertisement in the hopes that someone might pick it up. If you ever meet me I’ll be happy to sign it and if you don’t enjoy it you have permission to smack me on the head with it. That’s an offer that you’re not going to get from Stephen King.
“The Kingdom of Adacia has stood as the most powerful nation in the five known kingdoms for hundreds of years. King Jordan, last of the Redwood line is fighting an insurgency within his own borders as machinations are made toward… war in the neighboring Kaldorian Realms under the despotic Lord Wren. Lord Marcus Lanham, steward of the Southern region of Saxet and chief of war finds himself leading the Adacian army against a foe who wields the power of the lost magicks against him. In the darkest days of a new sort of war, can Marcus adapt to keep the Kingdom secure?”
Anyway, please give the book a shot. It’s discounted heavily right now because I’m trying to drum up some sales and interest. Thanks in advance to anyone who purchases a copy.
The Great Comics Con Queso Star Wars Expanded Universe Reading Experiment – Entry # 4 : Republic Commando – True Colors
The third book in this Republic Commando series is easily my favorite thus far. It has the most centrally developed ideas and emotional weight behind the characters. The build up over the course of the previous two installments has culminated in amazing payoff for a number of characters. The emotion that Karen Traviss infuses into the narrative is simply amazing. You really care about these people by this juncture, with the outcome for at least one character being nearly soul crushing in its sadness.
The motivations behind Kal Skirata’s heated manhunt for Kaminoan scientist Ko Sai are very real, and very human. His fatherly instinct and harsh nature feel as developed as any character in any film or non-genre specific piece of literature. The emotional weight on the shoulders of our clone protagonists is equally realistic and developed, making the situations they’re dropped into even more intriguing and intense.
The only problem that I have at this point is being weary of reading the next book because the progression of the story coupled with what I know of the Star Wars universe makes me feel like things aren’t going to end well for a lot of the characters I’ve come to really connect with. Hopefully I’ll make it through the last installment without wanting to punch a wall.